Ken McGrath began piano and percussion studies at an early age, participating in all types of ensembles, festivals and competitions throughout elementary, middle and high school. By his senior year, he was playing professionally with the Bob Bouchard Big Band at dances and concerts throughout Northern California. Ken then went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, summa cum laude, from UCLA under the tutelage of Mitchell Peters. Further studies were completed with John Beck at the Eastman School of Music where he received his Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance and Literature. In addition, Ken participated in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, an intensive summer training program for conservatory-aged instrumentalists.
Since 1993, Ken has been performing throughout Southern California as a highly regarded freelance percussionist. With the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony and Pacific Symphony he has toured throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Ken also performs regularly with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony and is a member of the New West Symphony. His contributions can be heard of numerous recordings and broadcasts including John Adams' Naive and Sentimental Music, Le Sacre du Printemps, Gustavo Dudamel-The Inaugural Concert, and Phillip Glass' The Passion Ramakrishna. In Southern California's rich contemporary music scene, Ken has played on many world and US premieres and has been a regular guest with the LA Philharmonic's New Music Group performing at Lincoln Center, the Ojai Music Festival and the Green Umbrella Series. In 2008, he commissioned William Kraft's Encounters XIII: Concertino for Percussion and Woodwind Quintet. That work received it's world premiere performance and recording with Ken and members of Southwest Chamber Music. In theater pits across the Southland, Ken has performed with dance troupes such as ABT, Bolshoi Ballet and San Francisco Ballet as well as playing on musicals ranging from The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked to The Lion King and Motown: The Musical. Ken can also be heard on film soundtracks by composers including John Williams, Randy Newman, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman and Alan Silvestri.
In conjunction with his busy performing schedule, Ken has kept an equally fulfilling teaching schedule. Currently he serves on the faculties of California State University Fullerton, the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts and Pasadena City College, in addition to maintaining his private teaching studio in Glendale. Previously he has taught at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Riverside City College and Pepperdine University. He has held master classes, coachings and adjudications at USC, UCLA, Southern Utah University, UCSB, Cal State Northridge and Citrus College. Many of Ken's students have attended summer festivals such as the Idyllwild Arts Academy, Interlochen Arts Academy, Julliard Summer Percussion Seminar, Northwestern University Percussion Symposium Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Brevard Summer Festival and Round Top Summer Institute. Previous students have gone on to attend the Julliard School, New England Conservatory, Shepherd School of Music, Boston University, Berklee College of Music and UCLA. Some are now professional players and educators across the United States.